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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  May 23, 2019 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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05/23/19 05/23/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! an election, the second-largest national election in the world in terms of voter participation. the loser in that election, general prabowo, the countries must notorious mass killer, longtime protege of the u.s., refuses to accept the results. he sent his people out on -- to
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the streets. they are rioting. amy: we speak to investigative journalist allan nairn. then to the indian elections. >> a terrible time for democracy in india and the world. modi,dian prime minister who is just completed a five-year term, has been reelected with an absolute majority again for another five years, which means that it is going to be an ending violence against minorities, against the poor, agagainst farmers, and against the environment. amy: then to syria. amnesty international calls for the united states to pay reparations to survivors of the u.s.-led coalition attack on raqqa thatt killed more than 160 civilians. >> of my children, my husband, my mother, my sister -- my w wle familyly. i have lt them a. my dearest ones. we were sitting in the basement when the rocket hit just before
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sunset.. when it hit my face, it was burned by the flames. amy: allll that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the trump administration admitted wednesday that a 10-year-old girl from el salvador died in the custody of the department of health and human services last september, making her at least the sixth child to die in recent months after crossing into the united states from mexico. the office of refugee resettlement described the girl, who was not named, as "medically fragile" and said she died of fever and respiratory distress in an omaha, nebraska, hospital. five other children, all of them all of them from guatemala, have died in u.s. custody or shortly after being released over the last eight months. before last year, no child died in immigration custody in over a decade. on wednesday, lawmakers on the
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house homeland security committee grilled acting dhs secretary kevin mcaleenan about the deaths. this is illinois freshman democratic congressmember lauren underwood. >> at this point with five kids that have died, 5000 separated from their families, i feel like , and the evidence is really clear that this is intentional. it is a policy choice being made on purpopose by this admininistration, and itit is cl and inhumane. an appalling addition. our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every single day. amy: after that exchange, republicans on the homeland security committee led a vote to admonish congressmember underwood, had her statement stricken from the record, and barred her from talking during the remainder of the session. in new york city, a federal judge ruled wednesday that deutsche bank and capital one must turn over financial documents subpoenaed by congress, as lawmakers investigate whether trump's business ties are influencing white house policy. deutsche bank loaned over $2 billion to trump for real estate deals over nearly two decades, even when other banks refused to
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do so. the decision came two days after a d.c. district judge upheld a subpoena ordering trump's accounting firm to hand over 10 years of trump's financial recordrds. meanwhile, new york lawmakers approved a bill wednesday that would give congress access to president trump's s state tax return this is new york assemblbly memr barbrbara lifton.. asthey are dedeeply concerned am i, , that our democracy is being undermrmined on a daily babasis by the c current administration. in the power of congress to provide proper and coconstitiononal oversight of te executive branch is being aggregated to o an unprecedented degree. amy: president trump stormed out of a white house meeting wednesday with house speaker nancy pelosi and senate minority leader chuck schumer, saying he won't work with the democratic leaders until they end what he called phony inquiries into his presidency. trump's outburst came just hours after house speaker nancy pelosi accused him of engaging in a cover-upup by resisting subpoen.
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>> we believe no one is above the law, including the president of the enough days, and we believe the president has engaged in a cover-up. trump spoke to reporters in the white house rose garden just after the confrontation. >> i don't do coverups. few people know that probably better than anybody. amy: trump's outburst ended discussions with pelosi and schumer on a $2 trillion plan to reinvest in u.s. infrastructure. after the aborted meeting, senator schumer said trump had clearly planned the move in advance. >> it is clear this was not a spontaneous move on the president's part. it was planned. only got in the room, the curtains were closed. there was a place for the president t at the front so he could stand and attttempt to tel us what he would not do infrastructure. then he went to the rose garden with prepared signs that have been printed up long befefore or meeting. amy: meanwhile, house speaker
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pelosi's staff held a caucus meeting wednesday to tamp down demands by many democrats to open impeachment proceedings against donald trump. pentagon officials are preparing to deploy up to 10,000 more troops to the middle east, as president trump and his top foreign policy advisers continue to threaten war with iran. the ap repororts the pentagon wl brief the white house today on a plan that also requests more u.s. ships, missile batteries, and increased efforts to spy on iran. in india, prime minister narendra mododi is poised to enr a second five-year term after winning a six-week-long parliamentary election that was widely seen as a referendum on his leadership. election results so far show modi's hindu nationalist bjp party leading in 300 of the 543 seats in parliament. if the trend holds, modi w will have an n even greatater majoriy than in 2014, when his party claimed the first outright majority in decades. we'll have more on modi's apparent election victory in
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india later in the broadcast. in missouri, severe storms tore through jefferson city overnight, spawning tornadoes that flattened buildings and damaged the state capitol building. authorities reported at least three storm-related deaths across missouri on wednesday. meanwhile, there are forecasts for record-breaking high temperatures in the southeast, with highs of over 100 degrees possible in an area stretching from virginia to alabama. the extreme weather is consistent with models of climate change. john walker lindh, an american captured in afghanistan in 2001 and convicted ofof provididing -- supporting the taliban, is set to be released from an indiana federal prison thursday islam at theo age of 16. he fought againsnst the northern alliance in a afghanistan civil war.r. he was captured in late 2001
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after being found macy aided and wounded as one of the future survive a massacre of the northern alliance. he was then handed to u.s. forces that they brutalized him as well. former pentagon chief donald rumsfeld had ordered them to take the gloves off. when john returned to the united states in january 2002, he e was being held as a prisoner accused of conspiring to kill americans. as part of a plea deal, lindh pleaded guilty to serving in the taliban army and carrying weapons and was given a 20 year sentence. in treasury secretary steven mnuchin said wednesday that plans to replace andrew jackson's portrait on the $20 bill with abolitionist leader former slave harriet tubman are on hold until at least 2026. tubman would be the first woman in over a century, and the first african american, to appear on a u.s. bank note. this is massachusetts democrat and freshman congressmember ayanna pressley questioning mnuchin wednesday.
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>> the american people understood the importance of representation on the banknotes of thehe world's most powerful economy. do you support harriet tubman being on the $20 bill? >> i have made no decision as it relates to that and that decision will not be made -- >> there was a national -- there was a community process. > again, it is a decision of the secretary of the treasury. right now my decision is focused on security features. amy: president trump has cited andrew jackson as his favorite u.s. president. jackson was a slaveholder who in 1830 signed the indian removal act, which forced 16,000 native americans from their lands in what became known as the trail of tears. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show in indonesia, where at least six
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people have died and hundreds have been injured after supporters of former military commander prabowo subianto took to the streets to protest his election defeat. the protests began after authorities announced president joko widodo, who is known as jokowi, had won re-election after receiving g 55% of the vo. prabowo has refused to concede and is preparing to challenge the resusults. amy: indonesian authorities have also arrested three backers of prabowo for allegedly plotting to seize government buildings in jakarta. one of the men arrested was sunarko, the u.s.-trained former commander of indonesia's s specl forces. we are joined now by longtime investigative journalist allan nairn, who recently returned from indonesia. he is a winner of the george polk award and a recipient of the robert f. kennedy memorial award. he has reported on indonesia for the past three decades. welcome back to democracy now! talk about the significance of
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these elections and what has happened now with ese deadadly protests. >> innococence, this electctions a turning point for indonesia. in general prabowo had won, it would have opened the door to a return to the kind of neofascism in indonesia, return to the ways of the old dictatorship. usbowo is the most a tory mass killer in indonesia. he is been implicated in mass killings in east timor, coppola, the kidnapping and torture of activist in jakarta. he was also the closest u.s. protege in indonesia are working directly for the u.s. defense intelligence agency and special forces, repeatedly bringing u.s. special forces into indonesia where among other things they did reconnaissance, as prabowo tolman, , u.s. contingency planning for an invasion of indonesia if the u.s. ever -- years ago that
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when prabowo mused to me when we had a conversation about the possibility of him seizing power and becoming what he called a fascist dictator. so his defeat is something of a turning point. it is the second time he has been defeated by jokowi, being, president, but he refuses to accept it. he has proclaimed himself the president. and now his backers, who include islamist organizations including a group called the fpi, and even elements of isis come happen out on the s street trying to provoe an emergency, which would require army intervention to take over the country and place prabowo in power. the tactics they have used a reminiscent of tactics that were used by prabowo and other forces
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when his father-in-law, the dictator cigar joe, was being overthrown by a popular uprising in 1998. in may of 1998, they staged an operation against the local chinese population, burning, looting, creating chaos. 1999ar to tactics used in in east timor or the indonesian military, cutting general sunarko a few just mention, used militias to stage arson, do killings, create chaos and used to more after they voted for democracy. it is kind of a rerun of an attempted coup, which forces connected to prabowo tried to stage a late 2016, early twice 17, and what was known in indonesia as the two went to movement. islamistned with
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street movement which actually got broad popular support from conservative elements of the islamist movement in indonesia and as military people at the time described it to me, their hope was to go in and take over -- physically take over the congress, physically occupy the palace, and seize power. they failed at that time. prabowo tried again this time after losing the election. but it looks like he does not have enough people on the streets. the deeper conflict that is happening is the old u.s. trained generals versus democracy. there is prabowo who is trying to overturn an election result, but also key generals around the side of the wood of the who themselvesi, are mass killers who have been involved in crimes like the 99 timor massacres, the assassination of a human rights , and they have been trying to do -- political
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dissidents and basically trying to crush free speech in indonesia. so democracy is under siege from both sides of the partisan political spectrum by u.s. trained generals. some of them working in alliance with these islamist street organizations, number of which were originally launched and created by the indonesian army. nermeen: can you talk about what has jokowi's record in an office? >> one of his first promises when he defeated prabowo in 2014, he would investigate the major atrocities, major crimes, including the 1965 slaughter of up to one million civilians which was backed by the united states and enabled the indonesian army to consolidate power. happily implied he would put the generals on trial. he did not do that. in fact, he brought two of the mustard for his generals into a circle him into his government
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because he is afraid of the army. jokowi is afraid of the army. he is genenerally shown n occurd so far to confront them and put them on trial. he does not really have control of the army. but he has hope by line with figures like these, he could maintain control. now that he is in for second term, i think there e will be a popular demand that jokowi live up to his old promises and put the generals on trial, including prabowo for his massacre crimes and, in my opinion, they should also try to try the u.s. officials who sponsored these generals. do like the italians did when they put cia agents on trial for kidnapping in rome. they can request the u.s. documents on these past atrocities backed by washington. the was congress actually wrote a provision into the foreign operations appropriations bill which provides the u.s. turning
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over documents to indonesia in the event there are investigations and prosecutions. but this can only happen if there's a popular move it to put pressure on president jokowi and if the forces of general prabowo who are essentially trying to seize power by violence, if they are finalllly defeated. amy: you had a next was a just before prabowo was defeated. explain what you learn. >> i publish the minutes of a meeting that prabowo held with his top generals and political confidants where they laid out their plan in the event he won the election and took power. the plan was for mass arrests of political opponents given propose politics --prabowo's politics, but also his supporters. many of the leaders of these islamist organizations who are the core of his campaign and are now, many of those who are in the streets throwing molotov
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cocktails on prabowo's behalf. an interesting aspecect was that in this meeting, they said there were planning to do these mass arrests of their own allies in order to please the u.s. they talked about a meeting a u.s. held with ambassador and essentially to curry favor with the u.s., trying to get back into their good graces, rekindle the hold -- the old alliance. they were planning to arrest allies to consolidate sole power in prabowo's hands. after the piece came out, seem to have caused some disruption among the ranks of the islamist orups and perhaps diminished mobilization for him on election day. and in these past two days come on the streeeets. amy: we're about to talk about the indonesian elections are massive. talk about the numbers and compare to the u.s. doing >> the second-largest in the world. the second is indonesia in terms of the numbers of participants.
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indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world in terms of population but it is somewhat moeller than the u.s. the election participation far outstrips that of ththe u.s. jokowi and prabowo got millions more more votes than hillary clinton and trump got in the u.s. election. but her participation is about 80% in indonesia. on top of that, you have more desperate group of people who abstained on principle grounds because they were disappointed with jokowi failing to prosecute the generals. we had that level of voter participation, the political landscape would be entirely different. i think the extremist republicans would be swept from power if the u.s. participation went up from 65% to the indonesian rate of 80%. amy: just before you leave, can you weigh in on the whole impeachment debate in the united states? >> it is a longer discussion,
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but if you turn on cnn, msnbc these days, unless you're someone who has been following these channels avidly, i think you'll find a lot of what they're talking about is incomprehensible. they go on and on about don mcgann and these figures who must people don't know who they are. rather than talking about the substantive issues of the atrocities that trump is , the de factoly murder of children on the border, the gutting of labor rights, the gutting of environmental protections, and instead they're talking about the democrats are going off on a tangent and handing trump a political gift. if you're going to impeach him, and p m on substance, not a rush of plot, which mueller concluded trump did not participate in. amy: i do want to ask you on other grounds, that is what a
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number of the democrats are talking about now, for example, not being willing to cooperate with congress on giving over information. creatingmocrats are this confrontation. they rightly point out that it is outrageous that trump is refusing to turn over documents that congress has legally and rightfully subpoenaed, but the democrats are doing that premised on what is a very weak premise. the idea that somehow there's something nefarious in the russia plot when mueller has already concluded that there was nothing there criminally. on substance, on his refusal to turn over documents of the crimes he is committing along the mexico border, about the way he is driving the world to possible extinction through his stance on global warming, about his lifting of restrictions on the killing of civilians with the u.s. bombing and droning operations in the middle east and north africa. do it on really shoes, not a
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premise that has already been undercut by the mueller investigation. amy: allan nairn, awaward-winnig best to get of er investigation journalist. ♪ [music break]
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amy: the song is about john walker lindh to is being released from prison today after 17 years in jail. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we turn now to india, where prime minister narendra modi appears set to enter a second term in a landslide victory followining a six-week-long parliamentary election t that was widely seens a referendum on his leadership. election results show modi's hindu nationalist bjp party leading in 3 300 of the 543 seas in parliament. at this rate, these numbers will give him an evenen greater majority than in 2014, when his party claimed the first outright majority in decades.
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modi declared victory on thursday, tweeting, "together we grow. together we prosper. together we will build a strong and inclusive india. india wins yet again!" voter turnout was a record 66%, with more than half a billion votes cast. india is the world's largest democracy with 900 million eligible voters. amy: most analysts had predicted modi's bjp party would lose seats in this election because of some of his economic policies. modi's government has been criticized for a crackdown on civil society, targeting political opponents, journalists, human rights activists, lawyers and writers. human rights groups have also raised the alarm on attacks against vulnerable populations, especially dalits and muslims. this comes as modi's main opponent, congress party leader rahul gandhi, is fighting to keep his seat in parliament. to talk more about the elections, we're joined now by award-winning indian author and journalist siddhartha deb. he wrote a widely discussed
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piece in the new republic in 2016 headlined "unmasking modi: the violence, insecurity, and rage behind the man who has replaced gandhi as the face of india." his non-fiction book "the beautiful and the damned: a portrait of the new india" was a finalist for the orwell prize and the winner of the pen open award. he is also the author of two books of fiction. welcome back to democracy now! it is great to have you with us. talk about the significance of these elections and who narendra modi is. thank you for having me here. it is great to be back, five years later. not so great in terms of elections. india loses again in the w world loses withth it. yes, i mean, i think the scale of the victor is surprising. it is an absolute majority for a leader who is seen as incredibly authoritarian, right-wing majoritarian violence.
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i think the difference between previous victory in 2014 and now was in 2014, there was a semblance of talk about economic growth. five years of modi at the helm has not delivered that in any way. --ia is a shamble at every in every possible way. and yet the indian majority have again.or modi and clearly, not based on gross or economic development, but on majoritarian is a and a promise of more violence. ; when we were speaking earlier, you actually anticipated that he would win. >> i did. it is depressing. it is depressing to have to say ,his, but one of the things again, what i've seen ovover the last fivive years in india is tt
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alalthoughgh the distress, the breakdown of the degradation is incredible -- economically, india is in nation pululls. callede india introduced do monetization, where a majority of bank notes, small denomination banknotes that are used to buy large sections of the indian population for everyday transactions, people who work as day laborers, this is how they earn money, they don't t use credit cards, he canceled this without any kind of major public announcement. he created enormous distress. it has never happened in the history of indian democracy that banknotes are suddenly nonfunctional. but in spite of this distress, in spite of the massiveve growth of unemployment, in spite of the farmers, the destitution which has led to incredible marches by farmers into major cities like
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bones ofd delhi, with farmers who have killed themselves -- we're talking about that kind of deprivation. 's spite of that in modi growth on the middle class remained solid. and that is shocking because it is not based on infrastructure anymore. and it has to do with the kind of identification with this project of hindu majority are in is him as to the answer whatever is complicated or confusing about the world. nermeen: the majority, which people don't necessarily know about, the majority of india's population is still rolling. 66%. you talked about the conditions in the rural areas. how is it the same people, in large numbers, still voted for modi? >> it is true. one of the interesting things in the pattern is that the only
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little bit of hope that we see is the south has resisted this sort of wave of modi. at the north and the west, which are more conservative, which are te, moretten by cs unequal in terms of wealth which are split between fast published majorities and a very tiny section, elite, which is incredibly wealthy. there modi's hold remains solid. he is been able to expand in east and northeast, which i find particularly disturbing because that is where from. in benga the decline of the leftl, has clearly allowed the right of the bjp. and northeastern states, he has done a by raising the specter of migration from bangladesh. this is connected to the fact of climate change, of increasing
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impoverishment, the decline across south asia. but modi has managed to turn this into hindus versus muslims. and for him, it is synonymous with indians versus outsiders because for modi, if you are a muslim, and to a lesser extent if you're other minorities, but particularly if you're muslim, you're just not indian. this is true of modi. this sister of the political party. of thes is true paramilitary organization for which the bjp is a polilitical front which is the rsf, which is a right-wing, fascist, paramilitary organization dating back to the 1920's and takes inspiration from mussolini and the not these. amy: and modi as he rose to power as ahead of equivalent of the governor who is responsible for massacres. >> what people have been saying modi. vardy had
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modi was the chief minister in 2002. under his rule, a program against muslims was instigated which led to mass deaths, sexual violence, didisplacement of peoe into camps. modi famously referred to them as baby producing factotories. ththis is the kindnd of p persoe are talking about. the united states in 2002 banned modi from entering the u.s. amy: banned him from entering the united states for years under r bush. but modi has successfully remade himself. he is turned himseself into a strong man and is admired in india among the elite but also admired in the west. when the riots happened, all of the people who were punished got away pretty much scot-free. those few people among
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bureaucrats, police officials, activists who managed to stand up, work harassed and punished throughout. this is a clear pattern. that is what modi has taken across to india. but he has been embraced d the restst of the world, by the obaa administration. he was and by obama as time magazine's person of the year. he was invited to the u.s. to address the joint congress. and i believe last night there in "the new york times" by former treasury secretary the obama administration talking about how india needs modi. he does hahave support acrososse world foththis kind ofof violent mature in areas -- nermeen: and observers say have been critical to his victory, corporations reportedly contributed as much as 12 times more money to the bjp than to
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those of the other six national parties combined, amounting to 93% of all corporate donations. recent changes in campaign finance laws alslso allowed companies toto conceal how much they donated and to which party. earlier this month, we spoke to award-winning indian author, arundhati roy. we asked her about the role of money in this election. >> if you look at -- you have to be a rich person to stand for elections. you have to have a lot of money. of course the corporate -- the corporate support would mean there are certain corporatitions like reliance, which is the biggest one in india which owns or 27say 24 news channels tv channels, sorry. so the combination of money, of complete control on the media,
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and what used to be a complete control on the social media, you know, which is now shaken a little bit. nermeen: that is arundhati roy on democracy now! we spoke to her the day after you interviewed her. if you could respond to what she said, both the distorted and overwhelming coverage of modi in the media and how much money the bjp was able to raise? >> i think in that sense, india is following a pattern that is -- you can see in the e united ststates that in democracy, substantial democracy does not exist even in countries where you have, no matteter how impressive elections might sound, because of the kind of distorting influence of wealth. yes, the corporations have been behind modi for a long time. this happened right after the massacres in 2002 when s some of
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them i initially felt a little t offtant about just the scale the brutality of the violence. but they caved in. modi was very, very strong. modi took them on. they caved in. the indian chamber of commerce sent him a letter of apology saying, we are sorry that we hurt your fefeelings. this is a man who cares deeply about his feelings. clearly. so any corporations -- corporations are being enriched at enormous rates. india is a basket case economically, but there is massive wealth extraction going on in terms of natural resources. companies like reliance, another company that is very, very close to modi. there is incredible crony capitalism that is present in india. there is a kind of enrichment happening at the same time as the impoverishment of the masses. the corporations pretty much --
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i worked in india as a journalist from the mid-1990's. mainstream media in india, television is completely -- i think arundhati roy call them fox news on acid, which is what indian television is. it is not watchable because it is an undimmmmed it wave of -- unending wave of violence against dalits, muslims, leftists, feminist. it is this incredible -- it is a 24 hour rage. this is what the corporations produced. the same is true with the print media. social media is a torrent of abuse as well. this answers another question you asked earlier. what are people doing at? they are manipulated by the electronic india, by the print media. the outreach is very successful. spinmedia does manage to
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the issue so they don't think about the questions of employment. about did want to ask you narendra modi, the past and 90 prime minister's relationship with trump, the united states, putin, netanyahu, israel? >> they all love each other. they're all majority areas -- itarianisms. modi has a version of that in india which is about hindu ma joritarianisms. -- this is they result of decades of neoliberalism. i have to say there is no between the obama administration and the trump administration, no difference between the democrats and the republicans as far as embracing modi in this kind of violence is concerned.
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amy: the kind of inequality you're talking about, the oxfam that came out that said the nine richest individuals in india have as much wealth as the bottom 50%. the nine richest individuals in india have the same amount of wealth as over 600 million indians. >> that is not a democracy, that is an oligarchy. it is a nationstate held hostage by an oligarchy and modi is delivering them the riches. amy: siddhartha deb, thank you for being with us award-winning , indian author and journalist. we will link to the new piece in the new republic headlined "unmasking modi: the violence, insecurity, and rage behind the man who has replaced gandhi as the face of india." his non-fiction book "the beautiful and the damned: a portrait of the new india." when we come back, syria. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we turn now to syria, the state department said
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tuesday that the syrian government may have used chemical weapons during recent fighting in idlib. the state department warned that the united states and its allies would respond quickly and appropriately if it is determined that chemical weapons have been used. this allll comes as new questios are being raised about an alleged chemical weapons attack in the city of douma last year. the syrian governmenent was accused of dropping two gas cylinders on the city, killing dozens of people. the u.s. a a allierespspond by carrying outirstrike bua newly aked intnal doment frothe orgazation for prohibioion ofhemical weapaps revealthere we confliliing viewwithin the organition as to what happened thleaked document ggggestshe cylinders we "manual p place on the ground d were n dropped om the a. am this haled somebservers concludthat thehemical attackight havbeen stad by rian rebs. eeaked doment apprs to coradict t officiaopcw findgs on wh happenein uma.
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in itsfficial port, the ganizati said itad found easonablgrounds at the u of aoxic checal as aeapon has take place on ril 7, 2018." we g tlondon wre we are ined by jonalist ban whaker, w has beeclosely followg this sry. he is thformereriddle ea edor at thguardian he n runs thwebsite albab.m, whichovers ar litics a society thk youor joini us. lk abouthe signicance of theocument at has surfad, wh wte that cument, d at it mea for the conclusis of e organizion for the cw. march, the opcw's official fact-finding mission published its report, which as thesaid earlier, suggested cylinders have been dropped from the sky and implied that regime
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was responsible. once -- the ones we have last week was a document written by a man called ian henderson, as far as i understand it, was working for the opcw. he at some involvement with the fact-finding mission. but according to the opcw, he was not a member of it. it appears at some point, probably late last year, he was allowed by the opcw to do some work to basically carry out his own assessment of what he thought might have happened. he had some assistance -- it is not clear how much -- from a group called the engineering 17. this document was then leaked last week. it was written -- what we have that was leaked was marked final draft.
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he states february 27, which interestingly was just two days before the official report was published. we don't know exactly what status this document has. one thing that some people say beinge the data gathered, there were internal discussions and assessments athin the opcw to draw collective view of what had happened. henderson'se mr. document was part of that. although, he was taking a very different view of the situation from the one that appeared in the report eventually. nermeen: brian, could you respond to what some observers have inferred from this document, namely that the chemical weapons attack in douma last year may have been staged by the rebels -- has there been any precedent for that can of
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staging by the rebels anywhere in syria? and can is reasonably be inferred from the leaked document? all, the first serious chemical attack in syria was in 2013 and that involved sarin on the outskirts of damascus. russians int, the support of the syrian regime flags, climbmbing false that the rebels were pretending to carry out chemical attacks and blaming the regime. what we have in connection with this latest one is that the fact-finding mission called on a number of international experts. they said there were three by three experts, done teams in three different countries and worked
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independently. the purpose of this exercise really was to examine the cylinders, look at the damage on them, look at the surrounding damage to the concrete roofs, and try to draw some conclusions about how the cylinders arrived with complicated cap galatians like how fast it would be falling if it was dropped from the sky and doing computer simulations things like that. it is a very technical sort of business. mr. henderson's report seems to have done something similar. there's not much detail about how he did it but it seems he contacted a couple of universities who gave guidance on how to do computer modeling. thateport kind of implies the modeling was done internally by henderson and perhaps other people, but it is not absolutely clear. amy: let me ask -- a veryy, it is basically
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technical area so it is difficult to outsiders to judge, particularly as neither the official report, no mr. henderson's, goes into any real detail about how they arrived at their calculations. amy: do you think the disagreement revealed in the leakedport, the opcw douma document, should impact the way we look at the new claims of a chemical attack in idlib? you the state department saying they're going to respond swiftly. what about this? always arounds with every reported chemical attack, so that is nothing new. the interesting thing about the attack the state department was talking about last sunday, although the reports are very sketchy, what they said was some
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chemical shells we used and that four rebel fighters were injured. now although chemical weapons under the chemical weapons convention, so that is a crime to use chemical weapons in it isay, the fact that only just four people makes it rather difficult to justify any sort of swift and strong response from the united states, as the statement put it. and go quickly and appropriately i think they said. nermeen: and also, brian -- go ahead. there were two statements. one came from the state department and the american ambassador at the u.n. said a couple of things earlier. the general idea is it would be a strong and swift response. nermeen: in your view, do you think the opcw would suppress information for political reasons from its report, this
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douma reported particular, and second, what do you think explains the fact that very few media have covered this internal document at all, including your former -- the guardian, where you worked for many years? >> first of all, i think it is buter a complicated story, i think -- what we don't really -- the people who say, ok, this report came out. it is not referred to in the official report that was published by the opcw, so the question is, why? some people obviously suspect there are some kind of political .otive behind the omission what we don't know is whether that is true or whether there were other reasons which could be much more simple like some of
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the research done by the experts , the fact-finding mission, actually refused -- refuted some of the evidence that henderson's document produced. so we don't know really what went on behind the scenes. unfortunately, the opcw does not really want to say very much about it. i sent them some questions last week, and no other journalist did. --t we got was a statement and another journalist did. what we got was a statement that they considered all of the information and would have an inquiry into how the document was leaked. usthat does not really get very far, i'm afraid. a missile i want to thank you for being with us, brian whitaker, former middle east editor for the guardian. now runs albab.com, which covers arab politics and society. we will linknk to the report "ow and the leaked douma document: what we know so far."
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amy: amnesty international is calling for the u.s. to pay reparations to survivors of the u.s. led military coalition that it had on raqqa >> recent investigation showed the u.s. led coalition killed more than 1600 civilians during the 2017 offensive to oust isis militants from the syrian city. the coalition launched thousands of air strikes and tens of thousands of artillery strikes on the city. amy: u.s. troops fired more artillery into raqqa than anywhere since the vietnam war. at the time, the united states claimed it was the "most precise air campaign i in history." to find out more, we go to washington, d.c., to talk to margaret huang, executive director of amnesty international usa.a. she returned earlier this weweek from a research trip to raqqa. welcome to democracy now! talk about what you found, margaret. >> thank youou, amy. trulytuation in raqqa is
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extraordinary. the level of destruction we have seen that is on the ground today is unprecedented in many, many ways. more than 80% of the city has been destroyed by the u.s. strikes. whatat is most compelling about raqqa is there was only one party in this conflict that had air strikes and that is the u.s. coalition. in many other conflict zones, it can be very difficult and time-consuming to determine which party was responsible for which aspects of destruction. is prettyqa, straightforward because only one side of the conflict had access to those missions. nermeen: having just been there, can you describe the living conditions in raqqa f for people who remainin in the city? >> it is been more than 18 months since the end of the fighting. the city still looks like a conflict zone. there have been efforts to clean
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up the streets, but the streets are heavily damaged as well. and even driving and walalking arouound the city cacan be quite difficult also certainly for people who have disisabilities caused by the war, it is almost impossible for anyone in a wheelchair to move around the city. many residents are living in buildings have to stririke. we saw manany places where half the building had fallen down. there was structutural damage to the building yet families were ststill living on upper floors f those buildings s because e thes no otherer place to o live. and i think one of the most striking findings for me was that we intererviewed many women who had lost their families, lost t their parentsts, their spouseses, their children inin e bombings by ththe u.s. coalitio. anand their situation is even me desperate because of the social norms in raqqa. they cannot live on their own.
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their families fill tremendous pressure because they're trying marryourage them toto another person. it has been incredibly difficult for those women to mourn their families and also to find a new life in a place where there is no access to jobs, no electricity.y. the destruction is truly calamitous. amy: i want to turn to one of the women amnesty international spoke to. her entire family was killed in the strike.
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amy: margaret, y you also met wh ayat when you were in raqqa. can you talk about what reparations would look like anad whatat exactly you are callingnr ththe u.s. and the u.k. to do right now in terms of rebuildldg the city? >> there is no question that individual reparations are really, really important, particularly for women like ayat. we did meet with her in raqqa.
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depressed.cncredibly i think one of the forms of reparation is recognizing the trauma that many of the survivors in the city have gone theugh, the members of family that they have lost, and a sense of desperation they y fl about the future. but certainly, a clean place to live, not a building that is half destroyed is one thing. i think financial wherewithal, opportunities for work that would enable women and men to be able to provide for their families and to live in safety and security. and then of course, just the infrastructure and the services in the city. there's really n nothing in n ra right now to help rebuild. there's not equipment, there are no resources. all of the schools havavbeen destroyed.d. many of the hospitals have been destroyed. ththe national h hospitatal hast rereopened this spring after a year and a half after the falling of the islamic state
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forces. so there is no question that there arare manyy serviceces and infrastructures, rose, buildings thatat need to be rerestored sot everyone in the community can impact returned to a more secure and safe life. margaret, have you receceived any response fromom e u.s. or the u.k. government to your request or your demand that they should be involved in reconstruction and also reparations should be paid t to the survivors? >> when we first presented some initial findings and cases to the u.u.s. coalition, actuallyly during the war, we were told , isolated anomalies cases and incidents. that is white e amnesty felt encouraged to do this very in-depth investigation will stop we are determined the minimum conservative estimate of 1600 civilians killed. we have been presenting our cases s to the u.s. cocoalition, asking them to acknowledge them and to m move forward with some
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foform of restitution and reparations. to this date, the u.s. military has acknowledged 180 of our cases that we have identified. they have e not yet started with any restitution or repararation. and there are huhundreds more tt we are waiting for them to acknowledge. i think what is very clear on the ground is it was not isolated cases. and hundredsndreds of buildings destroyed and hundreds of families lost. the b bestis in interestst of the u.s. mililita, the e u.k. military, and o other members of the coalition to really learnrn from this experienence in raqqa. if they believe in their precision airstrikes as a tool for trying to protect civilians, they need to understand what actual impact happepened in raq, who was affected, and if they're not willing to do the investigatations themselves, thn ththey have to take the cases ad incidences that we provided and others in order to determine how
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they can offer better restitution to families. amy: margaret huang thank you for being with us executive director of amnesty , international usa. just returned from a trip to raqqa. happy birthday to mike di fillippo! democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed ca
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narrarator: on ththis episodedef "eaarth focus"... the e race to transition to sustainable solar powower is underway. in zanzibar, rural women are learning solar skills, bucking a tradition of entrenched gender roles, empowering their communities in the process, while i in southernrn californi, it's genererating the e growth f grgreen jobs s and winning over skeptics. [filmlm advance clicking]

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